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Working in Motion Graphics

What is Motion Graphics?

Motion Design is the art of graphic design within the context of motion graphics such as film, video or computer animation. Examples include the typography and graphics you see as the titles for a film and broadcast design, like show opens for television, or the spinning three-dimensional logo at the end of a TV commercial. Motion Graphics has been around for years and years. However technology today has enabled it to take quantum leaps forward in recent years. Computer programs for the film and video industry have become vastly more powerful and more readily available. A typical Motion Designer is trained in traditional graphic design and has learned to integrate the elements of time, sound and space into his/her existing skill set of design knowledge. Motion Designers can also come from filmmaking or animation backgrounds.

Skills Needed

Creativity, creativity, creativity! You’ll need to be a visual person, passionate about creative work and open to pushing yourself in every creative way possible. Many of the candidates I meet who work in this space find that they express themselves in other ways in their spare time. This could be through art, graffiti, music or photography.

Education Needed

Everyone needs a good teacher or mentor. Most decent universities will run BA courses where you will learn the theory and techniques of design, so think courses in Graphic Design, Visual Communications, Art (or Fine Art even) or Multimedia Design. Graphic Design courses are always really useful, as they give you an appreciation of everything from typography through to design. Some of the best digital (including motion) designers have come from a traditional graphic design background, and produce really beautiful work.

How to find work

Forums, networking, and use a good recruiter!

Types of work available

Within the agency world, jobs will vary from corporate videos, online advertising to branding (think idents). Outside of agency walls, you could also get a job with a broadcaster like Channel 4 or the BBC, working across a range of different projects.

Which systems do you need to know?

Get yourself up and running on After Effects, Cinema 4d and FinalCut pro.

Good reads

John Dickenson is an Australian based Motion Graphics guru. He has a number of online tutorials that you can download. Follow him on twitter @motionworks or take a look at his website www.motionworks.com.au. Similarly the Fuel Motion website www.fuelyourmotionography is an awesome source of information from a group of motion graphics whizzes in the US.

Andrew Kramer’s website VideoCopilot.net contains various tutorials and information. His Sure Target preset has revolutionized the way you work with 3D cameras, and the Demon Face and Car Hit tutorials have swept away novice After Effects artists, and spun them into a frenzy of wanting to make cool videos. The Video Copilot blog and forums are a huge hit, and the products the website and team provide continue to be ground-breaking. Make sure you take a peak if you haven’t already. Get updates via Twitter on VCP by following @videocopilot.

And finally…go social!

To find a job in the crazy world of motion graphics, it’s really important to go social. Think Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, blogs and forums; there are loads out there and some are listed above. You can connect and engage with people who have a world of knowledge, and who can offer advice and help you build your network.

Always worth a read: check out www.theanvel.comwww.creativecow.net and www.totaltraining.com

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  • Tom Shannon

    Great advice! I’m currently in my second year of studying animation at UWE Bristol, I’ve currently got a National Diploma in Graphic Design and I’ve just completed a HND in Graphic Design also, so hopefully when I graduate next year I’ll stand a good chance of getting a job with the skills i’ve learnt/will learn!

    • http://wearesource.co.uk/ Richard Ward

      Thanks Tom. Yes indeed, i’m sure you will. Armed with a ND, HND and a degree, I’m sure you will be in a great place when looking for your first role.